Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Reykjavik: Photo Blog (8/23/14)

City Hall

The Pond

Music Gazebo

No tractors...during rush hour

Fischer/Spassky table

18th Century Fishing boat 

Weapon to cut trawler lines (1970s Cod Wars)



Leif Ericsson 

Reykjavik from Hallgrimskirkja

Longboat Sculpture

Artsy Reykjavik

Thakgil to Reykjavik: Photo Blog (8/22/12)

Victor at Camp Thakgil

Brian, Sarah, Andy, Aharon and Victor and the walk by Camp Thakgil

Foss by Thakgil

Sheep around Thakgil

The road to the Glacier

Basalt Cliffs of Vik (Victor, Korynn, Amie, Seth, Laurie)



Foss next to Seljalandsfoss

Andy falling in the river

Everything we packed into a Yaris with 5 people

Death Road: Route 214 (8/21/12)

We left the restaurant in Vik and Seth stopped me:

"At about 12 km up, there is a blind rise and then an immediate switchback.  The Yaris isn't designed to do that.  Tell Aharon to take all the hills in first."

I found it exciting - others NOT SO MUCH.

Skaftafellsheiđi Loop Trail: Skaftafell – Part Two (8/21/12)

Aharon, me and Brian at the edge of the World

Distance: 16km (10 miles)
Location: Skaftafell National Park, Southeast Iceland
Difficulty: Medium
Sights:  Glaciers, Fosses, Mountains

Upon return from the short hike walk to the tongue of Skaftafellsjökull, we got some coffee, snacks and water.  We headed out on what was a 16k hike that none of us were prepared for as one of the greatest trips we’ve ever taken.

The trip started with a rather easy hike up stair built trails past two waterfalls. One of these was Sarah’s goal of the entire trip – Svartifoss.  (She’s got a thing for basalt.)  The trail wove through bushes that were ALMOST tree-like.

Sarah @ Svarifoss

Once we crossed out of the “tree-line” there was a long stretch on a rocky plain that led into the direction of green lichen and moss covered mountains.  The rocky plain looked like the set of Red Sonja.  (I was ready to fight Bridgette Neilson.)  As we walked across the plain, we realized that everyone else we had seen since leaving the camp was NOT going further.

As we approached the mountains, The scenery changed from Red Sonja to Lord of the Rings.  I stated that we were going over the gap between the mountains and down into the valley in front. 

Andy summed up my statement later: “Usually when I go hiking somebody misreads the contour lines.”  That “somebody” was ME this time. 

Mountains ahead that we would climb towards

Hiking map

Instead of going down into the valley in front, we climbed almost straight up to the Skorabrýr ridge.  Atop the ridge we got amazing views of the Skaftafelljöll as its peaks climbed above the clouds.  And further along we got great views of the main glacier climbing playing “peak”-a-boo as it crept between the peaks.

Andy at the edge

The end of the Glacier

The trail then took us along the side of the higher Kristinartindar (1126 meters).  A more difficult trail spurred off of ours to summit “Christina’s peak.”  Brian decided to take it while the others of us took the “easier” trial that continued along the side and for the next half hour across the Southern face of the peak.

The trail brought us to a huge cliff that overlooked Skaftafellsjökull.  Here we saw our first other person in a couple of hours.  The Italian we met was kind enough to take our picture at the point.

Andy, me, Sarah and Aharon

The spot was also where the difficult trail Brian took rejoined our easier trail we were on.

Me: “Here comes Brian”
Italian guy: “But he is running?”
Sarah: “Yep, that’s Brian”

Brian rejoined us and gave the Italian guy a little recon on the difficult trail:  “It’s fine except one point where you have to hug the cliff.  But, it was probably the most fun thing I have ever done in my life.” 

As we were now at the point where it was just an hour hike back to the campground, I gave the Italian guy our map and sent him up into the mountains.  We hiked along the edge back down. 

We knew we were getting close as the trail went from zero people to passing people every 2 or 3 minutes.  The end took us down the easier loop trail into the campground.

After 4 hours hiking over waterfalls, across slate cliffs, over a cliff he had to hug onto and a foot wide ridge to the top of Kristinartindar, it was on this easy trail with railings and stairs that Brian slipped and almost went down a cliff…

When we got to the Camp the others were packing and we followed suit – headed for Thakgil.

Glacial Walk: Skaftafell – Part One (8/21/12)

Watch out for quicksand!

Distance: 3.2 km (2 miles)
Location: Skaftafell National Park, Iceland
Difficulty: Easy
Sights: Glacier; quicksand

We were doubling up on hikes this morning.  So our first hike we decided to do the short one down to the ice caves along the tongue of the glacier.

Well, it turned out to be a walk along an easy paved path and it turned out to NOT lead to ice caves (sorry Liz).

It did take us to some rolling mud hills that lead down to the glacier itself.  Yet, between us and the actual glacier was an icy swift flowing stream.  Brian thought that we could “wade across.”  I chose to nix that idea.

Glacial runoff

Brian then led the way over a narrow trail along the side of the mountain to find a way to the glacier. Parts were scary as I was not as agile!

After, we returned to camp for the long hike of the day...

Tuesday, August 28, 2012